As part of our effort to promote and encourage sportsmanship in the community, the Carl Fricks Sportsmanship Scholarship is presented annually to graduating high school seniors from the St. Louis metro area who embody outstanding sportsmanship. The scholarship recognizes individuals who exemplify honesty, integrity, civility, selflessness, kindness, compassion and class in athletic competition. Candidates are evaluated strictly on their approach, character and respect for others on the playing field. Athletic performance (wins and other stats) does not factor in the selection – making this scholarship truly unique.
Launched in 2009 by the St. Louis Sports Commission Associates – the Sports Commission’s young professionals group – the group raises funds for the program and selects its own recipients. Over the past thirteen years, $207,500 in academic scholarships have been awarded to 61 college-bound students.
Congratulations to the 2023 Carl Fricks Sportsmanship Scholarship recipients: Imarion Griffin, Jack Burke, Anna Belle Wakeland, Ava Hamilton, Ahren Muehleisen and Esther Pottebaum!
Help us celebrate sportsmanship by nominating a deserving student who has demonstrated outstanding sportsmanship and character in athletic competition.
You can view the bios of past recipients to see the type of attributes and actions the scholarship committee seeks to recognize. For questions, please contact Solomon Alexander at 314-345-5130 or email@example.com.View Previous Recipients
Imarion has had to overcome more than his fair share of obstacles and challenges in his high school career. Facing a litany of medical conditions, Imarion did not get discouraged or let the physical challenges slow him down as he worked harder than most to achieve on the soccer field and basketball court. It also did not affect his sense of civility, fair play, and sportsmanship. In a district soccer game, a defender tripped and fell, appearing to injure himself while Imarion was dribbling with the advantage toward the other team’s goal. Realizing what had happened to the opposing player, Imarion stopped playing and ran back to help, putting the health of the injured opponent over the advantage he gained with the opponent’s fall. Imarion’s coach observed him always shaking hands with the other team before and after games, never arguing with officials even if he disagreed with a call, and once allowing a player on an opposing team to wear his extra pair of cleats because the player left his cleats on the bus. In the face of great personal struggle, Imarion has shown extraordinary courage, perseverance, and class in competition.
Competing in football, lacrosse, and wrestling, Jack has displayed compassion and showed class both in victory and defeat. What stands out most is how Jack exhibited those qualities even when he was sidelined with an injury. Tearing ligaments in his elbow during a wrestling match, Jack sought out the opponent who had injured him, encouraging him to not let that unfortunate turn of events affect his performance in upcoming matches. Despite his own disappointment in having his season ended with the injury, Jack was concerned about his opponent’s mental state above his own.
Described as a consummate good sport, Anna Belle’s softball coach Tim Winkler summed up her worthiness to receive recognition for her sportsmanship by saying, “I cannot give a specific example of when Anna showed good sportsmanship, integrity, compassion, respect, civility, and class. That’s because all those characteristics are simply a way of life for her. She has always shown sportsmanship; day-in and day-out. I’ve never witnessed her showing displeasure with an official’s call. I’ve seen her on numerous occasions help a fallen opponent to her feet.” At a conference track meet, Anna Belle competed in the 400-meter race and after finishing the race, noticed one of her competitors had fallen and stayed down on the track. She rushed over and picked her up, helping her walk off the track to get some help. She stayed with the opponent and encouraged her to keep working hard and competing.
Ava excels on the softball field, but her consistent character and sportsmanship shine far brighter. Her coach Natalie Peters said, “Ava has tremendous relationships with all our local umpires. I have never once seen her react in any negative way to a call that goes against her or her teammates. The umpires know her by name, enjoy being around her, and always compliment her and her character when I speak with them.” While she is respectful of officials and opponents, Ava’s compassion and selflessness to benefit other players on her team stand out as unique and special. When a teammate reinjured her ACL and decided to play the season in a brace instead of sitting out another season, Ava knew this player could not play center field with the injury, so she volunteered to play out of position because she knew it was better for the team. Coach Peters said, “In twenty years of coaching, I have never seen such a selfless and wise decision from a teenage athlete.”
Aaron is a swimmer at Westminster, and a competitive clay target shooter with a club outside of school. Aaron has also proven to be the epitome of sportsmanship. Whether it is thanking the officials after every meet or being the first person to check on an opposing diver who injured himself on the diving board before medical attention arrived, Aaron always keeps a positive perspective on what it means to be a good sport. His trapshooting coach Jennifer Laurent said, “Aaron honors the game and is the first to assist scorekeepers that might have inadvertently scored incorrectly to keep the integrity and fairness of the competition intact.” While it is common for other trap shooters to dismiss scorekeepers as hired entities and leave their empty hulls for others to pick up after competition, Aaron consistently models the more appropriate behavior of shaking hands with scorekeepers at the end of rounds and picking up anything left on the field.
Esther plays the right way every day. Always gracious with opponents and officials, she has made a name for herself through her sportsmanship. The Director of Athletics at her school, Peter Tasker, said, “Esther is a powerful exemplar of an athlete living our mission to compete with honor, which I have posited means picking up your opponent when you knock them down. Not only does Esther pick up her opponent, she helps brush them off, makes sure they are healthy, and often apologizes whether she is at fault or not. I have seen her get her goggles knocked off her head in overly aggressive plays by her opponent on many occasions. She has never had a harsh word, a retaliatory gesture, or even a hint of negative body language in response.”